Law degree takes next step for reconciliation

31 MAY 2017

As Australians celebrate national Reconciliation Week, Charles Sturt University's law degree has been recognised as leading the way for other similar courses across NSW.The NSW Justice Department recently recognised the inclusion of Indigenous Cultural Competency as compulsory study for all students in the degree as an excellent way to provide students with knowledge, skills and capabilities to work effectively with Indigenous people and communities.CSU law lecturer Ms Annette Gainsford said the recognition was a good alignment with this year's theme of 'Let's take the next steps' for Reconciliation Week."Our degree is one of the first in law to establish Indigenous cultural competency in curriculum and work together towards promoting reconciliation in Australia," Ms Gainsford said."Furthermore, we are leading the way in Australia in the design and delivery of Indigenous perspectives across our law degree."We have Indigenous and non-Indigenous academics, community members and Elders collaborating to 'take the next steps' to provide authentic learning experiences to assist our Law students with their cultural competency learning journey."Sharing our stories and learning from each other is an important component of our teaching. Building respectful relations is an important step in acknowledging traditional Indigenous knowledge as a rich source of wisdom." Director of the Centre for Law and Justice, Associate Professor Alison Gerard said, "It is wonderful to have this recognition from industry that Charles Sturt University is leading the way."This week in class, law students will analyse the NSW legislation that paved the way for the removal of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children from their families and will evaluate its impact on current access to justice."In their assessment they will demonstrate appropriate cultural protocols and language use – a great example of how to build technical legal skills and foster Indigenous cultural competence among our law students so that they can be the change-makers of the future."Manager of CSU's Indigenous Student Centres, Mr Nathan Peckham, said Reconciliation Week was "an opportunity for Indigenous and non-Indigenous people to get together, celebrate Indigenous culture, acknowledge the past and continue to work towards a positive future as one."Staff in our Indigenous Student Centres at Charles Sturt University, including Wammarra in Bathurst, provide an important platform in this process with a number of events this week and we look forward to building relationships across communities in the future."

Media Note:

Ms Gainsford will be available for comment at an event at Charles Sturt University in Bathurst to celebrate Reconciliation Week. The BBQ will commence at 12pm on Thursday 1 June and will be held for CSU staff and students at the Wammarra Learning Centre (Building 1292) at CSU in Bathurst.

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